The Differences Between the Kindle and Kindle Paperwhite, Explained

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While there’s nothing like reading a real, tangible book, the experience of reading on a Kindle is probably second-best. It’s portable, lightweight, and lets you carry around infinitely more reading material than you could with physical books. There isn’t just one type of Kindle, though. There’s a whole line of e-readers that lend themselves to different kinds of bibliophiles. We’re taking a look at the (subtle) differences between the two most popular models, the Kindle and the Kindle Paperwhite, to help you make an informed decision when you invest in an e-reader.

Regardless of which version you go with, you get access to millions of titles, especially with the addition of Kindle Unlimited and Prime Reading, which is basically Amazon’s version of a library with free access to thousands of books.


The classic, “bare bones” Kindle isn’t so stripped down anymore. While the base Kindle has been around for years, there have been some updates to it that make it more than just a place to read. 

All-new Kindle

You can highlight passages, look up definitions, and adjust the font size for a completely personalized reading experience. It has 4GB of storage for magazines, audiobooks, and yes, regular books too. The battery will last you weeks on a full charge and you can even pair Bluetooth headphones to the device for listening to Audible on-the-go. It comes in both black and white. It’s priced at $90.

The Kindle is glare-free, thanks to its 167 ppi display. (Ppi is shorthand for “pixels per inch”. The higher the ppi, the better quality the display.) This  is really the biggest advantage of reading on a Kindle over something like an iPad. While the iPad is more of a tablet than an e-reader, the Kindle can be easily read in direct sunlight, unlike the iPad. As of April 2019, the Kindle also has an adjustable front light, which makes it even more ideal for reading outside or at night. There are also rumblings that a new version of the classic Kindle is coming out in 2021.

If you’re new to the game of e-readers and want the ability to bring more than one book with you while on-the-go, this is for you. Because of the front light, you can read no matter where you are, and the small storage capacity helps keep the price down. 

Kindle Paperwhite

The Kindle Paperwhite is as if the Kindle went through puberty. It’s thinner, lighter, and more robust than the Kindle. It has a 300 ppi glare-free display (compared to the Kindle’s 167) and it has a flush front design, so no dust or sand will get caught in the ledge between the screen and the bezel.

Kindle Paperwhite

The biggest advantage of the Kindle Paperwhite is that it’s now waterproof. Before, you had to get yourself an impressive waterproof case, wrap it in a ziploc bag, or just hope for the best if you took it near water. Why does this matter? One of the biggest use cases of the Kindle is reading by the pool or on the beach, so a waterproof device is basically a necessity for a stress-free reading experience. Storage on the Kindle Paperwhite is double that of the Kindle, with 8GB as the base size and going up to 32GB to hold every piece of media you could possibly consume. It also has the ability to pair with Bluetooth headphones to listen to Audible wherever you are. And you get all the customizations and access to Kindle ebooks as you would on the base Kindle.

The price of the Kindle Paperwhite starts at $130  for the 8GB and goes up to $160 for the 32GB. You can get it in the classic black or the new Twilight Blue, which is more teal than twilight, but maybe that’s just me.

The Kindle Paperwhite is for avid readers that want to bring along their material no matter their trip. Because it’s waterproof, it’s perfect for those of us that just can’t seem to put down our books before hitting the beach, laying by the pool, or taking a relaxing bath.

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